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Baker's Dozen

True Pairings: Tom Fleming's 13 Favourite Albums
Ben Hewitt , September 25th, 2019 12:16

Former Wild Beast Tom Fleming, who's just released his excellent debut album as One True Pairing, picks the 13 records that shaped him, from Tool and Def Leppard to Scott Walker and Joanna Newsom


Life Without Buildings - Any Other City

This is absolutely underappreciated. I think it's probably in the axis of And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead, but it’s much more British and much more like Gang Of Four. It's very post-punk – or, I guess, post-post-punk – and lyrically and musically complex, with a ridiculously tight band and almost spoken-word female vocals. It’s clearly the sound of a band in a room, with no trickery going on. It was 2001 so it was slightly before my time, and by 2004 or 2005 every fucker was doing this – but this was much more complex and less approachable, which I always appreciate.

They’d been students at the Glasgow School of Art, and I think there’s a lineage of this stuff in Glasgow 20 years before it, with The Fire Engines and Orange Juice. But you know, Glasgow is the rebel capital of the UK and there’s always something interesting going on there that’s slightly different from the rest of the country. Life Without Buildings only made one record but I think they’re a truly great band, and I think more people need to acknowledge the influence they had and give them more attention. Her [singer Sue Tompkins] delivery takes a bit of getting used to, but she's speaking sense; she’s telling you stories. That’s the beauty of it: her songs don’t often read like pop lyrics, she’s just telling you details. They’re dense, but if your used to listen to hip-hop it’s fine. I keep talking about it being challenging, but I don’t think it’s that challenging – but it’s definitely uncompromising. They actually wanted to be punk and be impenetrable. Like, ‘Do some work, fuckers!’